Tag Archive | joy

Joy-Filled

JOY3

We all desire joy. We crave a joy-filled life.

Such a small word, with such an enormous purpose.

To have joy means to be thankful and content in its entirety with what God has given. To have joy means to leave no room for hate, discontentment, or doubt. To live a joy-filled life means to see day-by-day life as an opportunity to praise our heavenly Maker for each and every gift He gives, every prayer He answers, and every moment He allows us to live.

That is joy.

Being filled with the light and love of God is joy.

How, then, do we grasp this thing called “joy”? I believe it starts with another simple yet meaningful word: thankfulness.

Being thankful for that basket of laundry to fold. Being thankful for that sink-full of dirty dishes. Being thankful for the glorious sunrise that smiles on us each morning. Being thankful for the birds singing to greet us, “good morning“.

When we are thankful for what we have because of the grace of God, we will truly experience a joy-filled life. No, it is not something that is instant. It is a moment-by-moment choice to keep our eyes on God and His will for us. If I want to truly live joyfully, I must recognize and be thankful for the small, every day blessings that God has so graciously given me. It is work. I’m not going to lie. Because to be joy-filled means to keep our eyes on God and thank Him and praise Him even when everything around us is crashing down, blowing up, and we feel burnt out. To not become satisfied with self-pity and give in to the ever present desire to put me first takes a strength not found in a mere human heart. It takes a power and certain strength not in this world, but above it. It takes an All-Powerful God.

But through prayer and focus on His righteousness, we can come to experience this thing called “joy” only found in His arms.
We can truly live a joy-filled life.

It’s Time to Praise God!

I recently went through a bunch of older documents on my laptop and came across something I want to share with you all. It’s short, but I hope something you all can enjoy.

 

PrasieGod!

 

I love my God. And today is one of those days that I just want to write about my Maker. I get a lot of my inspiration for writing when reading a quote or a verse from the Bible. The other day, I was reading Ecclesiastes 3:1 where is says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun:” Many times, when going through a difficult circumstance, God will show me a verses from His Word to reaffirm me of His sovereignty, and this time was no different. I immediately became overwhelmingly glad that so many, many years ago the Creator of the universe knew that we weak, lowly human beings would need guidance and comfort and therefore directed men to put together God-breathed words into a book for us to read. I have experienced great comfort (as well as convictions) from the book that the Great I Am orchestrated in order for me to understand (some of) His ways, and learn from other people’s triumphs and failures. I am so thankful that there is an Almighty King loving me, protecting me, and guiding me through life’s mountains and valleys. The fact that He has written my story with more purpose than I could ever think up is so rewarding. The fact that Jesus is my personal Savior, and thought of MY name when crucified on the cross at Calvary is so humbling. And there is no better thought than that of God wanting a relationship with me, and wants me to accept Him into my heart that someday I might live with Him for eternity.

Breath-taking.

 I believe that a God like that is worthy of praise!

A Grateful Heart

Blog Post- A grateful heart

The past few days I have encountered the topic of gratefulness. Whether through a passing remark by a friend, or reading something, or even a conversation, I sit here trying to think about something to write to you about and keep going back to that: gratefulness.

The Importance of Gratefulness

When should we be grateful? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Being grateful for everything is possibly the hardest thing to do. If we were honest with ourselves I think we would say that even the things that aren’t all that bad are things we still aren’t grateful for. Those are the things we take for granted. We all do it. I do it. Human beings are not naturally grateful creatures. It’s something we have got to ask God to help us with. And it takes effort. I know from personal experience that you cannot just say, “Dear God, please help me to be grateful for this, this, and this” and expect it to work; because the next thing you know I’m grumbling about that thing or person I just asked to be grateful for.

It is not possible to reap the full benefit of anything God gives you – circumstance, possession, relationship – if you are not grateful for it. And that right there should be enough for all of us to want to learn to be grateful for every thing God has given us. We are responsible for utilizing each and every gift to the best of our abilities for the glory and honor of God our Father.

It is a truly remarkable thing to think of all I am blessed with, and it is my prayer that I can learn to be more grateful for each of them in the future.

So how do you practice gratefulness?

Here are four ways to help us incorporate a little more gratitude into our attitude:

  1. Prayer. If you know me, you know my first answer is always prayer! Long-term gratefulness is a daunting undertaking. It is something that we as sinful human beings cannot accomplish ourselves. So the only way we could get going and/or keep it up      is through constant prayer.
  2. Count your blessings. Just like the hymn goes. Go ahead, do it! I promise you it will put you into a good mood. If you’re thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to snap out of this cranky mood,” start thinking of all the good in your life –  all of your blessings – and that will help.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people. The people you spend the most time with are the people who will influence you the most. So be with encouraging, uplifting family and friends who will help you stay positive and grateful.
  4. Bible memorization. Psalms is jammed full of chapters on thankfulness. Memorize some of them and recite them throughout the day. Even consider a memory buddy to do it with you, which would also be good for accountability.

This may seem like a short list of things you already have thought about. But if you make an effort to do a few, if not all of them daily, what a difference it could truly make!

And what about bad situations – are we grateful for those?

This past weekend I became pretty sick with a stomach virus. I was laid up in bed for the better part of three days and for about 24 hours of it I was absolutely miserable. I shared some kind things that some of my siblings had done for me and a friend told me that they loved how I looked for the good in that situation. Now, before you think I’m trying to toot my own horn, I’ve got to tell you that I wasn’t feeling grateful at all. At least about being sick (I was, however, grateful for the things that my siblings did for me). But it got me thinking about how we are told to be grateful for all things. Every single thing that we encounter is something to be grateful for. How do you be grateful for a stomach virus? Well, that’s hard. I think of the things that happened because of my being sick, like my little brother’s and sister’s acts of kindness towards me. They knew I wasn’t feeling well so they thought of something kind to do for me because they loved me. I’m so grateful for that!

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of gratefulness in a bad situation comes from Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place. In it she tells of when she and her sister were put into a German camp (World War II time period) and there were fleas absolutely everywhere. Betsie, Corrie’s sister, told her to give God thanks for everything, including the fleas. Corrie thought her sister was crazy, but later on found out that because the fleas were so bad the guards of the camp stayed away as much a possible, enabling the ten Boom sisters to share the wonderful love of their Heavenly Father with the other women in the camp every day they were there!

What an incredible example of gratefulness! I was blown away the first time I heard that story. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus…”

It is the will of God that you give thanks in every. single. situation. in which you find yourself.

 

Is this an easy thing to do? Not at all!

Is it worth it? It is one of the most worthwhile things you could do!

The world needs to see more gratefulness and through that they will see God’s love. It is work. It is a choice. Every single day you have to choose to be grateful. No, I don’t mean just you. Let it start with me! I want to choose gratefulness… thankfulness… JOY! A life of joy is one that is full of contentment and peace. I don’t want to miss out on that and I don’t want you to, either.

Dear Lord, please help me to wake up every morning and choose to have a grateful heart. Help me to count my blessings and be nothing but grateful for them. Please show me how to give thanks in every situation, even in the bad because I have no idea how it could impact me or someone around me in the future. Only You can.

Joyfully Living

 

Image

I want to write about going through life joyfully and not complaining.

That hit me the other day when I read a story about someone going through their daily duties, day by day, without complaining. Ouch! How often do I complain about not wanting to do something I know needs to be done – even if it’s just “playfully” complaining?

I have an amazing opportunity every single day to rejoice in the Lord and praise His name through everything I do.

 How I act around my siblings, my attitude towards my work (babysitting and piano lessons), and even in the around-the-house chores on my to-do list each day are all opportunities I have in ultimately rejoicing in the Lord. When thinking about how impactful that is to other people around me, watching me either daily or just once in a while, makes me want to take hold of every chance at being happy and helpful. What a testimony that would be! Being joyful through every small thing, as well as the big ones, is not a typical attitude you will find nowadays. So when someone sees that in me hopefully they will think, “Wow there’s something different about her,” and ultimately see the Lord through me.

When I was writing this out I thought I really should add some ways of helping us to remember to live joyfully:

1.       Reciting verses of praise and thanksgiving.

Psalms is packed with chapters upon chapters of joy, praise, and thanks. Memorizing them and reciting them throughout the day is a wonderful reminder of living joyfully. If you’re not sure where to start, some suggestions are:

Psalm 34:2

Psalm 71:23

Psalm 149:6

Psalm 103:1-2

Psalm 111:1

2.       Hang verses up around the house.

Print or hand-write your favorite verses of encouragement and hang them around your home, especially in areas where you spend a lot of time. The bathroom mirror for when you’re getting ready for the day or the kitchen wall where you’ll see it as you prepare a meal are two great spots to start at.

3.       Listen and sing along to hymns of praise.

Fun fact for the day: singing is a stress-reliever.   So, listening and singing along to songs praising our Maker could be the ticket to helping you get – and keep – your joyful spirit. Some of my favorites are:

It Is Well with My Soul

Trust in the Lord

The Solid Rock

Amazing Grace

When you are rejoicing in the Lord through anything that you do, especially the unpleasant tasks, you are shining God’s love and mercy to the world. You are sharing the joy you can have through Jesus – because, really, everyone will think there is something seriously different about a person who is joyfully doing the laundry.